The incidence of cancer in our country has been increasing with time. The Government of India has highlighted four cancers on preference, namely, Breast cancer, Cervical Cancer, Oral cancer and Lung Cancer. They collectively form 41% of the cancer burden in India. Oral cancer is the most common cancer among men, and breast cancer is the most common among women.
Cancer Treatment Options
Depending on cancer, its location and its stage, various treatment options are available to patients all around the globe.
Surgery removes the cancer portion entirely or as much as possible. It depends on the site, inclusion and size of the tumour.
Drugs containing powerful chemicals kill the fast-growing cancer cells under this treatment.
Bone Marrow Transplant
The bone marrow contains makes the blood cells with the blood stem cells. Diseased bone marrow can be replaced by a BMT. With the help of a Bone Marrow Transplant, the patient can also sustain higher doses of chemotherapy.
The body’s immune system is activated to fight cancer with the help of this biological therapy.
Hormones of the body are manipulated under hormone therapy, to fight the cancer cells.
Targeted drug therapy
Drugs targetting the genetic makeup or protein of the cancer cell are used to fight the cancerous tissues.
Also, read about Cancer Treatment Pain Management
Under this therapy, high waves of energy aimed at the tumour attack the cancer cells. Radiation therapy can reduce the size of the tumour or kill the leftover cancer cells after surgery. It can be targetted from outside the body through a machine, or a radioactive material can be placed inside the patient.
Radiation therapy can be used as a single mode of treatment, though, often it is used along with chemotherapy or surgery.
Also, read about Radiation Therapy FAQ
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
There are some short term side effects like
- Irritation at the site of the treatment
- Skin changes
- Minor hair loss
Some long term side effects include
- Alteration in hormones secreted by the thyroid, if therapy is being used for thyroid cancer
- Chest/heart problems if long term radiations are used near the chest area
- Hormonal problems
It is important to understand that not everyone experiences long term effects. The side effects entirely depend on the dosage, the duration of the treatment and other predisposing individual factors.
To know more about Radiation Therapy, read the article by Dr Tejinder Kataria, Chairperson, Radiation Oncology, Cancer Institute of Medanta The Medicity, below
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